Journal of Community Health

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 944–946 | Cite as

Repurposing Waste Streams: Lessons on Integrating Hospital Food Waste into a Community Garden

  • Adri M. Galvan
  • Ryan Hanson
  • Daniel R. George
Original Paper


There have been increasing efforts in recent decades to divert institutional food waste into composting programs. As major producers of food waste who must increasingly demonstrate community benefit, hospitals have an incentive to develop such programs. In this article, we explain the emerging opportunity to link hospitals’ food services to local community gardens in order to implement robust composting programs. We describe a partnership model at our hospital in central Pennsylvania, share preliminary outcomes establishing feasibility, and offer guidance for future efforts. We also demonstrate that the integration of medical students in such efforts can foster systems thinking in the development of programs to manage hospital waste streams in more ecologically-friendly ways.


Food waste Curriculum development Health care systems Systems thinking Environmental health 



A Human Health and the Environment Seed-Grant was provided by the Institutes of Energy and the Environment at Penn State University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

We report no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Penn State Hershey College of MedicineHersheyUSA
  2. 2.Brigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of HumanitiesPenn State Hershey College of MedicineHersheyUSA

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